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Article
Opening up the Echo Chamber: Teaching Cultural Competence in Contentious Times
Teaching Anthropology
  • Charles H. Klein, Portland State University
Document Type
Article
Publication Date
9-1-2017
Subjects
  • Multicultural education,
  • Cultural competence,
  • Anthropology -- Study and teaching,
  • Ethnology -- Teaching -- Methodology
Abstract

In recent years, political discussion and social life are increasingly concentrating in face-to-face and online echo chambers composed of individuals with similar world views. This segmentation of civil society has stymied in-depth and respectful communication across ideological difference and in the process contributed to the divisiveness that characterizes political discourse across the globe. In this article, I examine how anthropological learning and teaching can help open up these echo chambers and promote cultural empathy and cross-ideological communication. My discussion focuses on three methodologies I use in my undergraduate-level Culture, Health and Healing course – weekly critical analyses on contemporary health issues, an in-class illness narrative exercise, and a term-long public service announcement project. For each, I describe the pedagogy, present examples of how the assignment or activity plays out in the classroom, and consider how these pedagogies work toward increasing cross-cultural/ideological understanding and communication. I argue that through unsettling students’ default frameworks for thinking, reflexive and emotionally engaged anthropological teaching and learning can play important roles in laying the epistemological, affective, and ethical foundations for future professionals and engaged community members in today’s contentious times.

Description

The article was published in the open access journal Teaching Anthropology and can be found online at: https://doi.org/10.22582/ta.v7i1.466

DOI
10.22582/ta.v7i1.466
Persistent Identifier
http://archives.pdx.edu/ds/psu/21199
Citation Information
Klein, Charles H. (2017). Opening up the Echo Chamber. Teaching Anthropology, 7(1).